Most people consider the professional social network, LinkedIn, as a destination for job searching and recruiting. While it is a fact that LinkedIn is an important source for managing a resume, networking and job searching, it also represents a strong business opportunity for marketers. LinkedIn continues to grow its user base each year. In Q3 2016, there were a record number of users at 467 million.
As such, there are many interesting opportunities to utilize this social network to reach new customers and prospects via content marketing and advertising. In addition to several paid opportunities which we will explore, Linkedin has built up a strong and beneficial content play, as well. Pulse, the content sharing platform within LinkedIn, houses over 20 million content posts with 130,000 new posts added per week. Many significant content publishers, including Bill Gates, Richard Branson and Arianna Huffington, have been named “Influencers” by LinkedIn and have amassed large followings within the social network.
LinkedIn also contains social sharing site, SlideShare within. Housing over 18 million slideshares, they are the largest professional sharing site for presentations, documents, infographics and more. As marketers continue to innovate and take advantage of different forms of content marketing, LinkedIn (and Pulse and SlideShare) can be an invaluable way to distribute that content.
Before reviewing the paid options for advertising on LinkedIn, a word about targeting. The best part of ad scheduling on LinkedIn, is their targeting capability. Of those 467 million users, most marketers are aiming to reach a specific segment. Whether a company is targeting CMO’s of technology companies or small accounting firms, LinkedIn makes it fairly easy to reach the right audience.
Here are all of the capabilities for LinkedIn member ad targeting:
Now, let’s take a look at the best ways to leverage LinkedIn as a tool for driving new business.
We will explore three of the best paid ad opportunities currently offered by LinkedIn:
- Sponsored Content
- Sponsored InMail
- Programmatic Display Ads
1. Sponsored Content provides a self-service platform for marketers to promote their owned content via native ads. Many marketers are looking to build a larger following or drive new business leads. Both can be accomplished with Sponsored Content. Key benefits of Sponsored Content include:
- Set and reach a targeted audience
- Responsive design reaches mobile and/or desktop users
- Set a budget, choose either cost per click (CPC) or cost per impression (CPM) model
- Test different messaging and optimize based on performance
- Install Conversion Tracking to measure lead generation and results
2. Sponsored InMail provides direct messaging to prospective customers via the LinkedIn Inbox. Utilizing this technique, we can reach people via desktop or mobile devices. LinkedIn’s responsive design provides a clear call to action button, which slides into view and is always visible.
Key benefits of Inmail messaging:
- Set and reach a targeted audience with a direct and personalized message
- Send personalized invitations to events and webinars, driving registration
- Promote content downloads for eBooks and whitepapers
- Include a small graphic or datagram to engage users
- Message comes from an individual at the company rather promoting personalization
3. Programmatic Display Advertising allows marketers to reach a targeted audience on LinkedIn via programmatic providers. Targeting options for programmatic include both intent-based targeting and professional identity targeting. Intent-based programmatic allows marketers to target their own first or third party data list. Whereas, professional identity targeting accesses the LinkedIn database of segmentation in order to reach the right group. In either case, ads are purchased programmatically and can be done so via open or private auctions.
Although previously thought of as a network for job seekers and recruiters, marketing to a new customer base via LinkedIn can be very powerful. With the ability to create and share content, increased targeting capabilities and a mix of valuable advertising products, marketers are seeing the value.
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